All the meetings this month are expected to be long and intense!
Diversity & Inclusion Declaration
Administration went back to the drawing board on this one, and consulted with the best possible community members (grade-5 students!) to make sure that the statement is meaningful and accessible. It's likely we'll accept the new statement.
Directional Signage for Bike Riders ($65,000)
Administation is proposing that we install signage to encourage cyclists to obey traffic laws, to promote safety. We'll have the opportunity to ask questions and vote on this proposal.
Zero Waste Process
Earlier this spring, we directed Administration to investigate possibilities related to St. Albert delivering utility services. This is a presentation about what "zero-waste" entails, and a request to have Council direct Administration to include zero-waste in our utility investigations. (There is a long/fascinating discussion paper on this process available for anyone who is as nerdy as I am!)
Seniors' Advisory Committee
Administration has brought back a potential bylaw governing a new advisory council; I will likely bring forward several amendments based on my experience working in seniors services and with seniors' advisory committees within the capital region.
Portable Sign Bylaw
We'll debate amendments to our bylaws regulating density of signs in certain areas; This bylaw proposes to allow more density in particular commercial areas. Administration does not recommend this change.
Internal Auditor and Internal Audit Committee (IAC) Bylaw
Almost three years ago, Council directed that an IAC be created, and that an auditor be hired ($362,000); Our committee was finally appointed late last year, and met for the first time early in the spring. At our meetings, it was clear that we need a hired auditor to evaluate options for where to start, before we can even start to make decisions about where audits should be focused. Addressing deficiencies would likely happen after deciding on a plan, and seeing audit results. In the meantime, Administration has advised that our Corporate Risk Management (CRM) would likely benefit from an audit, but we don't have the budget to evaluate or address any arising deficiencies. We also have regular scrutiny of our procurement practices, which could benefit from IA; This is where my motion to rescind the IAC bylaw and specifically audit CRM and Procurement processes using the services of an externally-hired internal auditor ($100,000) and address recommendations ($262,000) came from.
I am a strong supporter of Internal Audit, and I am also a pragmatist who wants resources spent wisely and problems addressed meaningfully.
2017 St. Albert Annual Report
It's out for those who like dry bedtime reading! (I read it on an airplane. I'm pleased; Our Admin is working hard to provide exceptional community services.) This item is a motion to accept it as information.
Commercial areas on Bellerose Drive & Inglewood Drive
This is first reading of a bylaw that would allow a mini-storage area behind some of the homes on Ironwood Drive, and change a small portion of the land, just across the street from Second Cup/away from residential to "Commercial Corridor". Admin has prepared a presentation that gives an overview of the proposals.
Firearms Retail License Bylaw
After more than 20 handguns were stolen from a St. Albert business, I was shocked to learn that, although most firearms retailers in St. Albert already take basic security precautions beyond the dated requirements of the federal government, there are minimal requirements for multiple levels of physical security, and nothing requiring video monitoring in these businesses. (Interestingly, cameras are required in cannabis retail. They are also present, for example, in Canadian Tire, one of our local firearms retailers, and basic systems can be purchased at Costco for less than $400.) This motion is to require St. Albert firearms retailers to go beyond the federal requirements; Administration is recommending against the motion, as basic requirements are already governed by higher levels of government.
Smoking Bylaw Amendment - Cannabis
We've received a significant amount of feedback from those concerned smoking cannabis will be common near cannabis retailers; This motion is an attempt to reduce concerns about odours in commercial areas, including in commercial parking lots and around all businesses: "That smoking recreational cannabis is prohibited within 5m of commercial areas that are publicly accessible, excluding private residential areas."
Admin is recommending against the motion, but I will likely bring forward an amended version that brings more clarity to the intent. If the motion fails, I may consider bringing forward amendments on June 22 to increase the distance from commercial doorways/air intakes that smokers must be before lighting up; This is currently set at 5m. Please let me know your thoughts about limiting where people can lawfully smoke; We're debating big changes in a couple of weeks!
This is a brief high-level overview of highlights from our meeting agenda, with my personal comments sprinkled in - In no way are my opinions representative of the official direction of council or the City of St. Albert. Please let me know of any typos or errors. As always, I also encourage everyone who is able to tune in the the live-stream of the meeting (3pm here) or attend in-person (3rd floor of St. Albert Place, hang a right getting out of the elevator). You can also register to speak if you have information to present to council. Full agenda packages can be found on the stalbert.ca website.